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TORONTO — Barrick Gold Corp. shareholders approved the company's merger with African miner Randgold Resources Ltd.

The approval of issuing Barrick common shares is a step toward creating the world's largest gold miner, worth a combined $18 billion. More than 99 percent of shareholders voted in favor during a special meeting Nov. 5. Shareholders also approved the continuance of Barrick under the Province of British Columbia.

“Today marks an important step in our journey of taking Barrick ‘back to the future’,” said Barrick Executive Chairman John L. Thornton. “The combination of Barrick and Randgold will create the compelling gold investment.” 

The merger is expected to be completed Jan. 1, 2019, subject to approval by Randgold shareholders, and other approvals and closing conditions.

Analysts say the merger marks a return to Africa for Barrick and a reduction in investor risk for Randgold. 

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